Quaint fishing villages and towns can be found hidden in scenic places all around Cornwall’s meandering coast, from the manmade harbour protecting the turquoise waters of pretty Polperro to the natural harbour and streams of ancient Boscastle.
Looe is one of these beauty spots with a long history and contemporary community making the most of this fantastic Cornish connection. With lots of things to do including fun attractions, activities and beaches to visit, alongside a host of wonderful places to eat and locales to explore, anyone on a trip down to the southern resort will enjoy a wonderful holiday. Where will you start?
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Food and drink
Overall, this beautiful town is all about peace and tranquillity. Relax down on the summer sand or tred the coastal trails on bracing winter walks, drop by family-friendly attractions dotted along the south Cornish coast, then grab a bag of fish and chips from one of the local eateries before enjoying them back at your cosy cottage or down by the seafront.
Besides its fishing heritage, Looe has been a popular tourist destination since Victorian times. The east and west areas of the town sit either side of the River Looe and are connected via a bridge, and the pretty beach that draws many holidaymakers is East Looe Beach. There are a couple of galleries and independent gift shops for you to peruse; ensure you try out a dish of the locally-caught fish at one of the restaurants, pubs or chippies that can be found across this foodie destination.
East Looe Beach sits right in the centre of town, protected by Banjo Pier and the surrounding hilly landscape, making it a good place for paddling, swimming and snorkelling although it is not recommended to swim by the river mouth beyond the pier. Amenities are plenty as the town sits right beside this sandy seaside spot.
Just 1 mile out of Looe you’ll find Plaidy Beach, a quiet shingle space where you can get away from it all in the summer months as to reach the beach, you walk over a hill and there isn’t a car park; potentially putting off other holidaymakers and ensuring this beach remains unspoilt and tranquil.
Next door to Plaidy, Millendreath Beach is a sandy spot with more amenities and there is a bar and a bistro for you to dine at after your day down on the sand. It’s a lovely choice for rock pooling and for building sandcastles.
This coastline is rife with beautiful seaside spots for you to uncover; find some of our favourites in our guide to the best beaches in Looe.
Looe’s best beaches
This south-eastern corner of Cornwall is brimming with attractions to entertain the grown-ups and the not-so-grown-up among you.
Those who love animals can watch monkeys swing across the enclosures at the Woolly Monkey Sanctuary, where they take on monkeys who’ve been rescued and are in need of a bit of R&R. They began as a centre for the woolly kind but have grown to include cute and energetic capuchin monkeys, the rather dignified Barbary macaques, and excitable marmosets with their wonderful fluffy ears.
For the adventure-seekers in your group, a trip to Adrenaline Quarry may be in order. Instead of watching the monkeys swinging about, you could be launching yourself off a cliff and zip-lining over the lake that’s formed in the old quarry. There’s an on-site aquapark as well as go-karting and axe throwing for anyone who prefers to stay on dry land.
The South West Coast Path winds its way around the edge of the entire West Country, from Minehead to Poole Harbour – you can decide how far you want to travel and set off in either direction from coastal Looe.
Head south towards the Polperro Heritage Coast and you’ll pass by Talland Bay and Polperro, where you’ll find a pretty harbour beach and a model village that’s worth investigating - you might even get as far as the beautiful National Trust-managed Lantic Bay.
The waters of the marine nature reserve encompassing Looe Island are teeming with ocean life. Atlantic grey seals live out here and you might spot them playing in the waters during a walk around the island.
The reserve also draws many nesting birds, from cormorants to shags and oystercatchers, not to mention the kleptoparasitic black-backed gull. It’s a great place for bird spotters to spot these great species of birdlife. Take a boat trip across to explore, book a guided walk or stay a night on the island.
A coastal town cobbled together out of ancient stone cottages and modern waterside retreats, there’s a wonderful variety of properties for you to check out if you’re thinking of an escape to Looe.
From holiday homes with hot tubs and romantic boltholes with wood burners, to country homes with enclosed gardens, we have a fantastic choice of cottages for you to pick through. If you’re bringing the family pet along, take a look through our dog-friendly selection, and if you’re planning a family getaway with several generations, make sure you check out our large cottages.
Start browsing our collection of cottages in Looe and find yourself a coastal gem of a holiday escape today.
Retreat to Looe
The food and drink:
As you might expect, the seafood in this old fishing town is exquisite and plentiful. Eat surrounded by quirky old memorabilia at Smugglers Cott Restaurant, amongst pretty surroundings at The Old Sail Loft or dine at the stylish waterfront eatery that is The Sardine Factory.
Fish and chip shops include Catch, Kellys and The Coddy Shack. Grab yourself a takeaway and head down to the pier to enjoy your dinner by the water or return to your cosy cottage for evenings chatting, gathered around a wood burner.